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Referee News and Tips

10 Referee Traits That Help Control Games

The main goal for the referee is to influence the behavior of the players so they conduct themselves in a safe and fair manner. When this happens it makes soccer a fun experience for players, and everyone else, including the referee. An intimidating referee that acts like a "bully" may get players to comply in a game, but in the process they will fear him instead of respecting him. However, a referee that uses positivity and uses it to influence players and spectators will earn their respect during the game. The respect will follow the referee to his other matches, as well.

Below are 10 traits that are common in referees that control games in a positive manner.
  1. Self analysis: Check in(prepare mentally) to bring your best attitude to the game. This can be done by listening to music, doing breathing exercises, visualization, or any other exercise that will help you set positives objectives for your refereeing.
  2. Enthusiasm: Promote AYSO's philosophies and values with passion.
  3. Interest: Show interest in the game and players and it will get you respect. Arrive early to the field of play.
  4. Pleasant: Connect with everyone with a positive tone that is enjoyable to everyone.
  5. Respectful: Always respect everyone and they will be expected to respect you.
  6. Be firm -in a pleasant and respectful way be firm when you have to. The referee is the guardian of the Laws of the Game and the Spirit of the Game.
  7. Compassionate: Understand and support coaches, players, and others when they need it.
  8. Informative: Be helpful in providing information and assistance when needed. It does not take away from your authority to help a team find a field in a complex with 28 fields.
  9. Decisive: Do not hesitate. Once you make a decision, respectfully project it with self confidence.
  10. Emotionally calm: Address frustration and intervene early with a calming influence (using words, body language, gestures, etc.) before the behavior deteriorates into obvious dissent.
And as a double bonus:

Dress properly. The right uniform(s) will project professionalism.
Be open-minded and listen to the players and coaches. Allowing short, simple questions at appropriate times and that will let the players and coaches see that you are there for them.

Game control can be very easy when the referee prepares to bring and share a respectful, supportive, and collaborative attitude to the game. Even the misdirected passion of the few is influenced by a positive referee. Please contact Tom Bobadilla at if you have questions or need more information.
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